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Ava R-I Adopts Budget For 2014-15, Continues To Fill Teaching Positions

Board Member Pat Henry Resigns, Open Position Will Be Filled

By Sue Curry Jones
The June meeting of the Ava R-I School Board Tuesday evening was governed by the need to finalize unresolved items on the 2014-15 annual budget.  These topics had been reviewed and discussed during a study session held on Tuesday, May 27; however, with a budget deadline fast approaching, the board was bound to finalize details before the end of the month.
In closed session, board members accepted a resignation submitted by Alyssa Paulsell, the girls’ high school basketball coach, and high school history teacher.
Also during closed, two new teachers were employed.  The board hired Steve Sanders as high school girls’ basketball coach, and teacher in alternative school.
Sanders comes to Ava from Mountain Grove, where he served as an assistant coach.  His wife is also an educator and serves as principal in the Hartville School system.
Chris Randolf, a recent College of the Ozarks graduate, who plans to fulfill student teaching requirements at Ava, was hired as assistant to the high school boys’ basketball team.  Randolf is a graduate of Gainesville High School and played high school sports under Aaron Dalton, during his coaching years at Gainesville.
During the initial opening of the meeting, school board member Pat Henry addressed the board with a letter of resignation, relinquishing her board position effective June 30, 2014. In the letter, Henry professed enjoyment for being part of the governing body, and having the opportunity to serve and work alongside fellow board members, colleagues and administrators for the betterment of the school.
Motions to accept the resignation were given by Marsha Aborn and Johnny Burkdoll.  The vote was 6-0, with an abstention from Pat Henry.
According to Ava schools, the vacated board position will be filled through applications submitted to the board, and then followed-up with an open interview process.
Those interested and qualified to serve are asked to send a letter of interest to: Ava R-I Schools, Attention: Johnny Burkdoll, Board Secretary, P. O. Box 338, Ava, Mo.  65608.
Applicants must be able to meet the following requirements:  prove Missouri residency for one year;  resident taxpayer of Ava R-I School District; 24 years of age or older;  not a registered sex offender;  not on probation for a felony while holding office; never pled guilty or convicted of a felony connected with the exercise of the right of suffrage.
The deadline for submitting a per-sonal letter of interest in application for the vacated seat is Thursday, July 3, 2014. The individual selected to fill the seat will serve one year, and then in Spring 2015, may file as a candidate for election.
In the meeting, board members voted and adopted the following:
– to cover cost differences in health insurance premiums for the district. The difference encompassed a $30 increase, moving from $380 to $410.
– certified salary employees (teachers) will have a 2.3 percent increase at step one, and those beyond the initial step, will receive just under a two percent increase, with both horizontal and vertical movement accepted.
Motions to adopt were from Pat Henry and Marsha Aborn.  The vote was 7-0.
– implement a two percent increase for principal positions in the elementary and high school, and for the special education director.
Ron Wallace and Jeff Davis made motions, and the vote was 7-0.
–  a two percent increase for non-certified staff.  Motions were by Johnny Burkdoll and Pat Henry, with a 7-0 vote.  However, the proposal to approve a salary schedule for new non-certified staff employees was tabled for additional discussion.
– contracted bus drivers for 2014-15 were also awarded a two percent increase. Motions to adopt were by Jeff Davis and Johnny Burkdoll. The vote was 7-0.
In a separate 7-0 vote, the board approved a request from Bill Holt to transfer Route 4 to Billy J. Holt, in the fall.  Motions were by Burkdoll and Wallace.
Without additional discussion, the board adopted the proposed 2014-15 budget via a 7-0 vote, with motions from Pat Henry and Johnny Burkdoll.  The only topic previously discussed during the board’s budget work session that was not mentioned Tuesday evening was the status of the school resource officer money.  During the budget session in May, it was noted, however, that a letter of memorandum had been placed in the proposed budget dedicating $15,000 to the position and partnership with the City of Ava.  Nothing was presented on Tuesday to counter the original proposal or agreement put in the proposed budget.
Superintendent Brian Wilson said at present there are federal programs giving free breakfasts and lunches to area schools, however, Ava does not qualify as the schools numbers are off by ten percent.  Consequently, under the Hunger-Free Kids Act, which Ava must follow, an increase in lunch prices was needed or the school would have to payback federal funds.  The board approved a 5¢ increase.
In contrast, the cost of purchasing extra milk was maintained at 35¢ per carton.  The district’s per carton cost is 38¢.
In a 7-0 vote, the board approved amending the 2013-14 budget to reflect accounting adjustments and revised entries necessary to close out final notations for the financial year ending 2014.  Many of the adjustments were due to state or federal adjustments in funding, or as in the case of Missouri Preschool Project program, a revision due to adding an additional classroom.  In conjunction, board members also approved a Fund 4 transfer of $1 million. These transactions are annual events that help finalize the outgoing budget entries.
In a 6-0 vote of approval, the board endorsed a set of graphic designs proposed for the Fieldhouse at the athletic field complex.  The sporting illustrations are proposed for two sides of the building and are being sponsored by Missouri Ozarks Community Health (MOCH). The  graphics characterize sporting events offered at the complex.
Motions to adopt the design were given by Ron Wallace and Johnny Burkdoll, and the vote was 6-0.  Board member Marsha Aborn abstained.
The district spotlight focused on Cody Huff and Colten Levan, and their successful first-time entry in the high school bass tournament held at Long Creek Marina on Table Rock Lake.  The students took first place in the contest, competing against 14 other schools, and a total of 58 teams vying for the title.
Cody, who was in attendance, was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the school board.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) sanctions the fishing tournaments, and it was only last month that the Ava board opted to give the fishing competition event a trial run.
The board approved payment of monthly bills totaling $322,928.58.
Board members present were Pat Henry, Jeff Davis, Johnny Burkdoll, Randy Spurlock, Ron Wallace, Marsha Aborn and Dan Watson.
The next regular session of the board is scheduled for Thursday, July 24, at 6:30 p.m.  Meetings are held in the board meeting room located on the north side of the Decker Library.